Which language should I learn?

I need a new mental challenge, so I have decided to learn a new language. I have started learning Finnish (it’s a facinating country!) but I am wondering if I should learn something else instead. Any suggestions?

PS - I am not learning arab or mandarin… It looks too hard! And I already speak and/or have a good grasp on the following: French, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

PPS - Are there any Finns here??

Gaelic, because there can never be too many people who speak the Tongue of Kings.

Well, maybe there is a language that is spoken in your town that might be useful to know. Where do you live? What kind of work do you do?

If I had to go in blind, I would say Japanese, which might be useful in business. Or Hindi might be interesting; there are an awful lot of people in India and being able to communicate in their lingua franca wouldn’t be a bad thing. My third choice would be Russian just because of all the ex-USSR countries out there.

But then you could go an easier route and pick Swahili or Indonesian; they were languages that were designed to be easier to learn so that they’d be good as lingua francas. And it would be cool to say “oh, yeah, I speak Swahili.” :slight_smile:

Finally, you could go for Catalan, Provencal and Romanian so that you’d have all the Romance languages under your belt. It would make a nice matched set.


And then you can help me @#(*&@(#& learn it.

I think I’ll pass on the Japanese. Too similar to Mandarin…

JW, I like the idea of learning Russian. I am in the oil and gas industry and that is a pretty big industry in Russia and the old states of the CIS. I am just leery of languages that do not have the same alphabet as indo-european languages. Something about learning all those new symbols just scares me…


Russia’s alphabet isn’t too dissimilar from the Roman script you use, and with some practice you could learn it easily enough. Russian is also a language that has lots of speakers over a very wide area, so it’s a useful tongue to know. Other languages:

Greek (different alphabet)
German (related to English)
Dutch (ditto)
Welsh (really only spoken in Wales, but still the Gaelic language with the best survival chances)

A good approach might be to…

  • Learn the language of your SO or family or heritage.

  • If you already know that, learn the other official or useful languages of your country or area.

  • If you already know them, learn a language useful for your career. (It’ll take long enough to learn a new language, that it probably won’t help your current job.)

For me those choices would be English (I have no SO, and my ancestors came from England), French (I live in Canada), and Mandarin, Japanese or maybe Hindi (I work in electronics but plan to change careers). I’m working on French at the moment.

Or you could just ignore any sort of plan and go for something cool, easy, and interesting that you found on the Internet, which is what I did when I found Esperanto. :slight_smile:

Quenya. One of these days I’m going to get around to learning Quenya.


Then you can meet loads of interesting people who can help you with your computer problems.

Afrikaans. Only suggesting it because I found it remarkably easy to pick up, and paves the way towards other Germanic languages rather nicely (I can read reasonably well in Dutch and Flemish, and very basically in German).

Or Elvish.

Just for the record, Japanese is nothing like Mandarin, or any other Chinese language. Kanji is based on Chinese characters (from a few thousand years ago), but the spoken language is much easier (IMO).

Well after Latin, Greek (Classical Greek that is) is moderately useful.

Question: are you learning this language just buy buying a CD-ROM from CompUSA, or are you actually taking lessons?


Thlingon Hol?

HaB SosIl Qch!


I think that you should reconsider Mandarin, which is really not that hard. In fact, the grammar is way easier than the romance languages. Once you’ve got the nuances of pronunciation out of the way it’s really a great language. Granted, it helps if you are friends with Chinese speakers who can teach you the slang etc.

Welsh is not a Gaelic language.

I would start with the DIY method. I’ve actually started with Finnish with a book and CD combo. I think once i settled on a language and was committed to learning it, then I would switch to actual classes.

I am an expat French-Canadian, so French is already covered, and from there it was pretty easy for me to pick up the other major latin-based languages. As for my SO, his grandparents are Danes and Norwegians, so I thought of learning that. And then that led me to German, because we’ve always wanted to go to Austria/Germany (and also, German sounds cool). And then for some reason I settled on Finnish (for now, again because it just sounds so cool), and although I like it, I am just re-thinking how useful it would be. Maybe I’ll just stick to German and Russian for now.

Oh, cerowyn, when I said Japanese was too similar to Mandarin , I meant it’s too psychologically similar to Mandarin (i.e.: waaay too different alphabet). I see those similar-looking symbols and I run like the wind. I want to try and stick to either languages with “our” alphabet, or cyrillic alphabets.

Notice the scorn with which the Gael writes that? :wink:

ruadh is correct. Welsh is a Brythonic Celtic language, as are Breton and Cornish. The other modern branch of the Celtic family is the Goidelic, which is comprised of Irish Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Manx and Shelta (a little spoken language of Ireland).

Wow, I think I must be the only person who looked at this thread title and thought immediately of programming languages and had ‘Perl’ in my head.

Language I always wanted to learn but never did was Russian. I tried to take it in high school, but they wouldn’t let me because of some scheduling conflict so I ended up getting French instead.